IBM To Develop Platform To Track Authenticity Of Medicines In Africa

As each day passes, blockchain technology is gaining more and more popularity as several sectors are now figuring out it’s potential and are trying to utilize it. Many government and private corporations have started to invest in the technology. Tech giants, IBM, has for a long time been one of the most active players in the industry, having collaborated with many countries like Australia, Canada and Argentina to develop blockchain based solutions for federal government departments to increase transparency and speed. As reported by BTC Wires, the company recently also launched its own blockchain based global payments platform World Wire, which is operational in 72 countries and deals with over 47 fiat currencies.

Moreover, reports indicate that the company is now reportedly working on a permissioned blockchain network to combat the evil of counterfeit medicines in African countries. Haifa, which is IBM’s largest lab division outside the US, is in charge of developing the platform. The platform will facilitate the tracking of medications all the way back to the manufacturers, which in turn will ensure the distributors that they have genuine drugs.

The platform will be tracking and restricting the constant flow of fake medicines that get illegally smuggled into the African nations. IBM will be partnering with various African firms to deploy the newly developed blockchain network. The network that is based on a permissioned distributed ledger will have a user-friendly mobile interface, which will let participants authenticate all transactions of the shared ledger.

The African continent has the most complex drugs and medicine supply chain than other regions where a medicine on an average changes 30 hands before reaching the designated pharmacy. The country has also been the victim of counterfeit medicine for decades, and though some measures have been taken to combat this, none of them turned out to be successful. Supply of counterfeit or substandard medicines in Africa is as big as 30% of the total pharma supply. WHO also maintains a record that over 100,000 deaths in the continent were due to the use of such medicines.

Majority of the counterfeit drugs in supply are imported into the African countries. Most of these imported drugs are manufactured in China and India. Astonishingly, India alone contributes to 35% of the total fake medicines being supplied globally. However, the supply from India is also likely to come down, as the Indian government has already started to crack down manufacturers of fake medicine, also by applying blockchain technology.

It is only time that can tell if blockchain with its core properties like transparency, immutability, and lightning speed in data sharing can eliminate this problem.